The Justified End - This is a situation taken past the...

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“The end justifies the means.” - Machiavelli The idea that the end justifies the means can be simplified, or at least analogous, to two separate arguments. On one side an argument protecting the greater good, the good of the whole. Opposite, an argument defending the rights of the individual, their well being. In nearly every decision involving “the end justifies the means,” two distinct values exist that affect the outcome. These values are based on what the decision maker believes is more significant: the particular rights of the individual or the collective well being of the whole. The arguments for either side of such a decision would be strong, if not due to their nature then as a result of the underlying values. Many examples of these types of cases exist, however, the scope must be broadened much further for the concept to be realized. Say, for example, that it is possible to cure all of the disease on Earth, but to accomplish this one innocent child must be killed.
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Unformatted text preview: This is a situation taken past the actual abilities of the human race to explore the macrocosmic effect of such a situation. Now examine the type of person who would sacrifice that child, or ten children if need be, to succeed in ridding the planet of disease. Then examine the one who protects that child, no matter the possibilities nor the consequences. Which leader would be more successful, the one who believes that the group as a whole must survive and prosper at any expense, or the one who believes that the individual must be protected no matter the cost to the whole? Perhaps Machiavelli was describing the philosophy needed by any true leader or politician within his time period. Or perhaps he felt that people with this philosophy were simply the enlightened ones. The concept is much broader and encapsulating than this piece could possibly articulate as there are significant arguments for both sides, many of which are both enlightening and convincing....
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This essay was uploaded on 03/18/2008 for the course PHIL 120 taught by Professor Jenkins during the Fall '04 term at University of Saskatchewan- Management Area.

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The Justified End - This is a situation taken past the...

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